Rick Bryson


By Dave Russell


The Sylva Police Department will lose many years of experience and many talents when Assistant Police Chief Rick Bryson retires on June 1, Sylva Police Chief Chris Hatton said.

According to town records, Bryson joined the SPD as a patrol officer in February 1998, moved up to sergeant in 2003, to lieutenant in 2012 and became assistant chief in 2017. 

“He’s my right-hand man,” Hatton said of Bryson. “Rick has the responsibilities of the chief of police if the chief is not available. He takes a lot of ideas and runs with them, kind of the logistical side of things that need to get done. He supervises the whole department except for me. He is responsible for two lieutenants, one patrol lieutenant and one detective lieutenant.”

Bryson handles grant fulfillment as well, and fills in as needed.

“This week he ended up working Sunday morning day shift as a patrol officer because we’re so busy and didn’t have the coverage,” Hatton said.

The goal is to have someone in place for a week or two ahead of Bryson leaving the force for training the new assistant.

“It would be great for Rick to show the new person what he does and how he does it,” Hatton said. 

“The Sylva Police Department cannot replace Rick Bryson,” Hatton said. “I have never met a police officer so dedicated to one town and one agency. Rick’s life has been one of service, it began with the Marine Corps and continued to the Sylva Police Department. His dedication to our town and his family is an example for us all. Rick will be missed by many.”

Sylva town Manager Paige Dowling echoed Hatton’s sentiments. 

“Rick Bryson has provided exemplary service to the town of Sylva and its citizens since 1998,” she said. “We’re going to miss his professionalism and dedication to our citizens.”

Promoting from within the department is on the table, Hatton said. 

“All applications will be considered,” he said.

The deadline to apply is April 12.


Long list of duties, qualifications

The list of responsibilities for the position requires quite a bit of scrolling at hiring site indeed.com – 26 bullet points and the catchall “Performs other duties as assigned.”

A masters or bachelors degree is preferred, but not completely necessary, Hatton said. 

Applicants should have 10 or more years of experience as a certified law enforcement officer with at least three years of experience at the level of lieutenant or higher, or five years of experience at the level of sergeant or above.

The salary range is $48,273-$62,000, depending on experience and qualifications. The new assistant chief would be required to relocate to Jackson County within one year of hire date. Application review began Wednesday and the position is open until filled.